Saturday, September 19, 2009

Are the Hoosiers a defensive team?

After by far the most impressive performance of the season, the Hoosiers are 3-0 and heading to Ann Arbor, Mich. to open Big Ten play.

Through three non-conference games, it is clear the IU defense has carried the load. But can we call the 2009 Hoosiers a defensive team? It's something that hasn't been said in a long time, if ever.

IU forced four turnovers in its win over Akron, all interceptions. They were stout against the run again, allowing 106 yards, with a big chunk coming with the game well in hand. It appeared throughout the game that except for one big mistake the IU defense was in control. Whenever Akron began mounting a drive, IU forced a turnover. Akron was short-handed at quarterback, but that shouldn't take away from the IU performance.

The big question heading to next week will be whether the Hoosiers' defense can stop the run against a quality Big Ten foe. Michigan is clearly much improved and has a lot of speed on offense. The IU defense will have problems with Tate Forcier and the spread offense. But if they can keep the run game under control, I think they may have a chance to keep the game close. Ben Chappell and the IU offense will have to play well and eliminate the turnovers.

The Hoosiers may need to play a near-perfect game, but I think IU's best game is enough to win at Michigan.

Overall, a dominating performance by the Hoosiers in the 38-21 win over Akron. It's exactly what IU needed with conference play about to begin.

Next week: At Michigan, noon Sept. 26.

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